He is the reigning Supercross Lites West Regional Champion. For 2011 he will move up to the premiere Supercross class. He has raced the past few seasons for Pro Circuit Kawasaki, but now is with a new team, Monster Energy Kawasaki. His name – Jake Weimer.
Jake was at the Monster Energy Kawasaki team facility getting prepared for the 2011 Supercross season, and he took a few minutes away from testing his new Kawasaki KX-450 to talk to us about working with Mitch Payton, getting ready for Supercross 2011, and handling the pressure of moving up to the big bikes after his Supercross Lites (250cc) West championship in 2010.
Jake Weimer in 2010, courtesy Kawasaki
You moved from the Pro Circuit Kawasaki team to the Factory Kawasaki team for the 2011 Supercross season. How has the adjustment been for you?
Jake Weimer: It has been good. This is where I expected to be and where I was planning on riding. It has been good, it has been fun. I have had a good time with the new team and getting to know everybody. And also getting to know the new bikes.
Everything has gone really well. It has been a smooth and easy transition for the most part. I am definitely doing everything I can do to be prepared for twice the amount of races and the longer motos. My expectation is to be on the box.
The 2010 outdoor motocross season was a bit disappointing for you. The back injury seemed to derail it for you before you really got started. How is your back?
Jake: Everything is good now. I went through the whole rehab process and did all the physical therapy. I am 100% now, so everything is good to go.
What was it like working with a Hall of Famer like Mitch Payton for the last two years?
Jake: It was definitely an awesome experience for me. It is a couple of years of my life that I will never forget. His personality was a lot different from what I was expecting. He was very helpful and always willing to listen, and address any problems. He is definitely a hard worker.
Coming off the 250 West Supercross Championship in 2010, do you feel any added pressure from the expectation to duplicate that success in 2011 on the 450?
Jake: I don’t really feel the expectations from other people. I have pretty high expectations of myself and that’s what I focus on. At the end of the day, I want to do well enough on my own that I don’t fell any pressure from outside.
How is the bike shaping up for the first major supercross of 2011 – Anaheim 1?
Jake: I am dialed in for the most part. We have got most of the testing out of the way. I am really, really happy with the bike and I am having a great time on it. We are going to do a little more testing and then I think we will be ready to go for A-1.
Is it helpful for you when you are setting up a bike to have someone like teammate Ryan Villopoto there with you?
Jake: It definitely has made it a bit easier, for sure. Being on the team for two years, Ryan knows the bike. He has gone through all the transitions and parts changes, so it has definitely made my job easier. Our settings are a little bit different because our riding styles are different, but they are the very close to the same for the most part. The majority of the chassis and suspension settings and stuff I can take what he has learned, and pick through it and find exactly what I like. Ryan has definitely been a big help.
The upcoming Supercross season looks to be very exciting. When you look up and down the names racing in the premier class for 2011, there are a lot of very talented riders. When you think about how deep the talent is, what goes through your head?
Jake: I definitely do not look at it like those guys are just totally gnarly. There are a lot of great riders in the 450 class, but my job is to win races. That is what I am getting ready for and training to do. My focus has to be on me, and making sure that I am ready to go.
What kind of things do you like to do when you are away from the track?
Jake: I enjoy other sports like snowboarding, skateboarding and stuff like that, but I really can not do that stuff anymore. So when I can, I get away I try to go hunting. Other than that, when we are not riding or training we are usually trying to rest and recuperate. I have a job to and I obviously do not want to do anything to jeopardize my ability to do that. So I just try to lay low.
Jake, thanks very much for your time, and good luck in 2011.